New Akai MPX8 Sample Pad Controller


At the 2013 NAMM Show, Akai Professional introduced the MPX8 SD sample launcher with MPC pads.

Using a standard SD card, users can load virtually samples onto MPX8 and then assign them to any of the unit’s eight backlit velocity- and pressure-sensitive pads. MPX8 also comes with a large library of standard samples built in

The MPX8 comes with a drag-and-drop sample editor for Mac and PC for easy sample conversion. Users can also save sample sets together as kits for easy recall and even tune and add reverb to samples.


  • Add sound samples via standard SD card (sold separately)
  • 8 velocity-sensitive and pressure-sensitive pads
  • Drag-and-drop sample editor for Mac and PC included
  • Built-in library of popular sounds, samples, and bumps
  • Tune, add reverb, save sample sets for easy recall
  • USB MIDI plus standard MIDI inputs and outputs
  • 1/8” headphone output and balanced 1/4” outputs

Pricing and availability are TBA.

57 thoughts on “New Akai MPX8 Sample Pad Controller

    1. Its not meant to be a sampler. Its basically a DJ doodad. I like the concept and if its sturdy enough to take the beating, it’ll be popular, because it fits a certain niche where you need just one more THING on top of what you’re doing. Its easy to imagine triggering big, complex endings or finishes with it, as well as exotica such as, say, a taiko drum. That’s how I use a NanoPad at times, but this will play its own sounds internally. It changes the game a bit, in a useful way.
      The editor is the make-or-break of it, though. If that is well-designed. it deserves to be a hit. Like the new Roland VK and KingKORG, this thing sits on a nice line between function and accessibility.

  1. Been looking for a simple sampler like this! I had to make due with the sample banks on my Korg KP3.
    This’ll fit nicely into my portable rig.

    Any word on if it can be battery powered?

  2. Amazing. Now will this have an ADSR function? Also this would be cool if It had vintage MPC output mode like the Maschine has.

  3. I just wish that they (and most likely not) would make a new bad ass MPC that was a MPC but with a powerful operating system( if they would just get JJ to make it), upgradable memory, and not to mention all the stuff I’m leavening out. I just want a MPC that can host ableton in the box. A MPC that is a customizable standalone controller.

      1. True. How much more expensive would it have been to implement a simple sampling stage. Line level so no need for good preamps, etc.

        Everytime I use my mpc1k I think it’s time akai puts out a similarly sized product with a newer and improved OS. It still needs to be sub 800$us with quality pads.

  4. Sweetwater and Future Music both have videos from NAMM showing this off. The Future Music video mentions they plan to have them shipping around summer time, price is $99. No mention of battery power. It seems to be USB bus powered. This doesn’t make sense to me. Why put in an SD card slot, 1/4″ outputs, MIDI in, etc. and make it a portable, self-contained sample player, then make it so you have to hook it up to a computer in order to use it? What is the advantage over a USB controller?

  5. I wonder why they’ve chosen SD card over a USB flash-drive? From the description it sounds like you load the samples onto the device anyways, not run them off of the card…so why not use USB which everyone already has, and every pc / lots of devices have access to.

    The lack of audio-in for sampling is a bit of a let-down, and yet they seem to have introduced another minor hindrance to getting samples onto the device by using an SD-card. I dunno…maybe it’s just me?

    1. @king korg:
      1.) Not everyone has Ableton
      2.) You can’t compare a $99 sample pad controller with a $400-$500 DAW-integrated controller. May as well compare a guitar with a trumpet.

      I’m not sold on this controller though, tihnking about it I’d much rather they price it at $150 and have a 4×4 grid with audio in / mic & use usb flashdrives for sample copying. Then I’d happily wander into a forest with a solar charger and get some beats going :).

    2. But that’s sort of the point. I want one, because every now and then, a laptop will say “no can dosville, babydoll” during a live-set, and having this to just play a few long samples and a few short ones when that happens will keep some sort of flow going. I’m not a DJ and I can handle silence during my set, but when things go wrong, it’s good to have a simple backup that doesn’t depend on your laptop. Like a condom, it’s better to have one and not need it than the other way around.

  6. Few years ago I needed something just like this to trigger samples during songs and I bought an SP-404. If this sample player existed at that time, no need to have a huge and heavy steel box on the keyboard.

    1. If you only have to trigger samples, you are definitely right, but since you’ve bought the SP404SX I suggest you to explore its full potential.
      It is a really great machine that you can use as a sampler, as an effect processor and even as a simple wave recorder!

      1. Just to play sound effects, like cars, animals and nature sounds.
        Today I use the SP-404 to sample instruments, and as effect processor.

  7. Just a trigger for samples with one effect, reverb?? Strange package. Perhaps less is more, no? The SP 404 and other small portable samplers have sequencers that are capable of some minimal production and effect processing. Is this targeted more towards bands who need backing tracks and don’t want to have to use a laptop? To me this is a strange niche for a product but am intrigued by it’s simple approach and aesthetic.

  8. This would have been perfect and what I needed if not for:

    1. One mono samples… this is just a very stupid move in my opinion. Stereo should have been possible, especialy because it would be used for oneshot FX in many situations.

    2. The same irritating transfer problem that all sample players have; no support for direct sample download into a slot from the computer via USB… why always these weird programs to organise samples on the computer in kits first, and then write them to a card? … it’s ten times more intuitive to have your samples on the computer, and a program to just browse these and send them directly into a slot, and then be able to save the kit on the SD card in the device after that.

    I’m unsure if this is possible, but I hope it is, and then stereo samples has to be done by panning two pads instead…

    1. If the two issues you mention were fixed, I’d gladly pay $129 rather than $99. I’ll bet they could be readily addressed with negligible additional manufacturing cost at the factory level. Akai might see it as a price-point thing, but I doubt anyone who can afford an MPC will NEED this. Besides, its not at all useless as it is. It just needs a little added forethought. SD cards hold a lot of info, so it might require less housekeeping than you think. If a card would hold 4 sets of 8 kits or the like, you might never need to change it at all. We’ll see as people start using them.

      1. It’s not monophonic, the press release says it has 3 outputs (x2 1/4″ and headphone out 1/8″) , I guess this is made for musicians with no budget or for an easy and cheap sample trigger unit, I wonder what would be the lenght of the samples, you know for backtracking.

  9. everyone who is saying just get x,y, or z cause its way better is not getting the point of this. cheap, simple, and easy to use. all the features everyone is complaining about that this does not have cost money. at a hundred bucks with the ability to just drag my samples from my computer to it, this is not a piece of gear i need to save up to buy and it will fit nicely into my hardware setup.

  10. I really cant see a niche for this, well, not one which is going to sell the units they are hoping for. If you want to just trigger a few samples then there are a zillion ways to do this now, not least your Phone for instance which most people will already have. I also feel Digital Dj’s would be better server with a dumb controller too. Sure, some people are going to find a use for it but its I doubt there will be many of us. I’m out.

  11. Depending on how it handles data, this could have a very useful application for me and others…

    I and a fair few bands I know who work in the “post rock” genre, use a lot of speech samples to provide narative to songs, these can be diologue from films, b movies, commecials, speeches etc.

    I have always struggled to find a sampler capable of handling “long” samples..which are really, in this day nd age, not that long at all…say 4 banks of 8 30 second samples.

    I own the MPC 500 but that has to load samples off the card into the RAm which is maxed at a pathetic 128mb, quite why this is is a mystery.

    I know the Roland SPX 404 does direct card loading …but it is just…so…ugly!! and I dont have the room for such a big piece of kit for such a simple task.

    therefore if this thing will let me use a 2gb+ card and stram samples off it, letting me load 8 long samples per song and easily switch songs at the end of each performance…that to me is work the money and I will be trading in the MPC while its still worth more or less what I paid on Ebay a year ago.

    1. Can it stream off the SD card, directly? I suspect that this is not the case. All other Akai samplers require you to load samples into the memory buffer before they may be triggered, making long sample playback impossible. I would guess that this machine works the same way. Someone please correct me if I am wrong in this assumption–I’d love to know for sure!

  12. I can see this working well side by side with groovebox tabletops (electribes, roland mc series, yamahas, emu stations) without sampling capabilities. Looks like it doesn’t have grid sequencer? Simple 16 steps would do, just to spare a MIDI channel. And it takes a matter of hours to write one. But as far as bang for a buck goes, i think this is nice option to add simple sample playback device along mentioned machines or electronic drums. I see it simply as an upgrade, it’s small, it’s self contained. I do own other samplers, but heck, another one won’t hurt. If it responds to MIDI messages that is.

  13. I’m going to get one because….

    I use a circuit bent Roland TR-505 as a sound source and sequencer, I use a Boss DR-660 as a 2nd sound source. I don’t use a computer for music, only an MMT8 and a Dark Time.

    However I’ve got about 500 vintage drum samples, so this is perfect, a cheap sample player with some basic editing. Why are people moaning, it’s a great little toy.

  14. I think this trend of stripping things down to their essentials is refreshing. I too have a 404 collecting dust because it’s too big to fit comfortably in my normal live rig, alongside my Korg microsampler, which is my main sample triggering unit. Having something to fill in while I’m switching microsampler banks, or to serve as an alternate source with a different effects mix would be nice, but that function doesn’t justify the bulk of the 404. Sure, I could use my iphone, but I am one of many who would resist getting onstage and poking at my phone. There will be enough people texting in the audience, we don’t need phone drones on stage too.

  15. I’m interested in checking this out a bit more… I’m a guitarist in a prog band, and there are samples that I’d like to trigger (mainly to share some of the work from my drummer). Mainly short stabs, but occasionally I’ll need some longer vocal pads triggered.
    I’ve had my laptop on stage with me, but this unit looks small enough to incorporate onto my pedal board for triggering with my Roland FC-200

  16. My question is about the pads. Can you play them with sticks or small mallets or thump them with your fingers…? Or are they more like keys on a controller keyboard and you “depress” them for velocity? I’d much prefer the response similar to drum pads that use piezo pickups so I could us sticks or mod the unit with 8 inputs that I could plug my own pads into.

  17. For me, this the holly grail…I own two Fantom XR, one for studio and back up, and the other, to take live…we use samples in some songs (keyboard player), but the main problem is that some electronic drum sounds (on top of the acoustic drums), are very specific and Alesis DM 5 simply cannot deliver…we hook up a Midi Cable from the DM5 to the Fantom, on stage…this little thing can just stand on top of DM5 and add colour and sounds to the electronic drums, plus, the drummer can now trigger some of the sequences, in time, rather than having back track with click, just to fire “that part”, on “that song”…finally!!!! 99$? 99Eur here in old Europe…I’ll buy two!!!

  18. I just got the AKAI PROFESSIONAL <— remember this word… MPX8 (for my Birthday)

    I will keep my gripes short and sweet and list reason not to buy this item, yet.

    1. Mono sample playback, despite the stereo out.
    2. Editor software not even available??? Seriously they released it without software so you can't even put your own samples on it.
    3. USB not recognised by the computer – So the 3rd one occurred for me but you might be lucky. Maybe a firmware update will fix this problem but they should really include the drivers with the item.

    So all in all if you need a doorstop for anything, this is perfect. If you were looking for a sample player then you have 4 or 5 preset kits you can bang around on. You know the 808 and 909 that comes with everything these days, anyway. Moan over I just hope this helps others.

    So a product that really was not ready to ship and has been shipped I ask you, is that really very Professional?

  19. If this has eight audio outs, it would be great to use as a good portable sample player .
    I use an MPC2500 , they are stunning machines, but a portable sample playback machine would be brilliant. Fingers crossed for at least eight outs? Optomistic I know!!

  20. I connect this unit to my battery powered Juno di usb port and it powers it fine as a external portable drum machine , Any 5v phone charger will work in standalone mode and then connect the midi cables. I also use the tb3 step seq to save drum patterns in and trigger the mpx8 mine for 20 bucks used and pads are move a little but does not effect the performance.( good sound)

Leave a Reply